So it’s no surprise how often you find publishing industry types turning entrepreneurial in the hopes of building a better model for journalism and editorial content. E.g. Blendle and Blockfeed, to name two recent startups that spring to mind. (A third, Clippet, was co-founded by media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s grandson.)
London based Readbug is another startup with publishing industry expertise firing its engines. Co-founder and CEO Matthew Hammett has a background launching small and big magazine titles. And his startup pitch can be summed up very concisely — as ‘Spotify for magazines’.
Specifically independent, cult and classic magazine titles — so not the garish mass market fare you’ll find rammed in your eyeline at the supermarket checkout screaming about celebrities and cellulite. Readbug bills its aggregated digitised magazine content as alternative/aspirational stuff, read by “creative and curious” types. And Hammett says it’s deliberately “handpicking and curating” the titles it wants to repackage and distribute on its platform in order to establish its own editorial voice — as well it must to stand a chance of pulling eyeballs in an era of free info overload.
The app offers an all-you-can-eat content model across its selected magazine titles for a monthly subscription fee (currently costing £9.99 in the UK). Users can browse and read specific titles, as well as telling the app general interests to get relevant content pushed to them. There’s no freemium element as yet (aside from an initial seven day free trial) but the plan is to add some free channels in future, showcasing a selection of content curated by Readmag staff, as a way to expand the app’s appeal down the line.
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